Color Reveals Translucent Seasonal Ice
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Color Reveals Translucent Seasonal Ice

December 22, 2007

In a region near the south pole of Mars translucent carbon dioxide ice covers the ground seasonally. For the first time we can "see" the translucent ice by the effect it has on the appearance of the surface below.

Dark fans of dust from the surface drape over the top of the seasonal ice. The surface would be the same color as the dust except that the seasonal ice affecting its appearance. Bright bluish streaks are frost that has re-crystallized from the atmosphere.

Sunlight can penetrate through the seasonal layer of translucent ice to warm the ground below. That causes the seasonal ice layer to sublime (evaporate) from the bottom rather than the top.

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